Vietnam Becomes the Latest to Ban Bitcoin, but in China, the Rules May Be Changing

Vietnam Becomes the Latest to Ban Bitcoin, but in China, the Rules May Be Changing

Vietnam became the latest nation state to launch an attack on cryptocurrency, as regulators sided with the alarmists without providing much of a rationale.

Vietnam Issues Ban

The ban, which applies to all cryptocurrencies not deemed legal tender, was issued via formal statement by the State Bank of Vietnam. The punishment for accepting or offering payments in bitcoin can run more than $8,000 USD.

Vietnam’s central bank says only traditional forms of payment are accepted within its borders. This includes cash, checks, credit cards and other electronic payments.

The state-run bank has issued the following statement, according to Mirror:

“Bitcoin virtual currency and other similar is not lawful means of payment in Vietnam; The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin and other similar virtual currency as a means of payment is prohibited in Vietnam.”

The announcement, whenever it was made, had very little impact on cryptocurrency trading. At press time, bitcoin (BTC/USD) was trading at $6,162 for a gain of $57.

The bulls blew the door wide open this weekend, sending bitcoin north of $6,300 for the first time ever.
 

Chinese Ban? Let’s Move to Hong Kong

Now that China’s Communist Party gathering has come and gone, sanity appears to be returning to public discourse. That is, according to a recent report from CNLedger, which our pals at CCN.com recently covered. The trusted news sources have revealed that OKEX is expected to launch its peer-to-peer OTC bitcoin trading platform shortly.

As it turns out, OKEX and several other leading blockchain companies like BTCC and Huobi-Pro are located in Hong Kong. Theoretically, their presence in the Special Administrative Region allows them to circumnavigate the mainland’s recent ban on everything crypto-related.

It should be noted that OKEX is offering a bitcoin-to-crypto trading platform. Regardless of what Beijing thinks, it might not be a good idea to launch this platform on the mainland. That’s because the Chinese government recently blocked a major port for MetaTrader4, which is the engine of the online forex community.

Regulators have apparently shut down port ‘443’, which is used for secure web browser communications. The port also happens to be the one MT4 brokers use to connect to their trading server.

The port probably inhibits the government’s ability to spy on traders, or at least monitor their data flows (like that’s different?). There’s reason to believe this ban could extend to other trading platforms that utilize a similar standard.

Last month, China broadened its online censorship by blocking WhatsApp, the popular messaging platform acquired by Facebook for way too much. The ban was another blow to the social networking giant, as it too is banned on the mainland.

 

Author: Sam Bourgi

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

$11 Billion - 24-Hour Cryptocurrency Trading Volume Hits New Record

$11 Billion – 24-Hour Cryptocurrency Trading Volume Hits New Record

Cryptocurrency trading volume reached a new milestone on Friday, crossing $11 billion for the first time amid regulatory uncertainty in China.

Crypto Markets Post Record Volume

According to data obtained from CoinMarketCap, the combined 24-hour trading volume of all cryptocurrencies rose to $11.5 billion shortly after 16:00 UTC. The only other time daily trading volume has surpassed $10 billion was on August 19, when it briefly spiked to $10.5 billion


Cryptocurrency Trading Volume & Market Cap Chart from CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin topped the charts with $4.2 billion in volume, while ethereum and litecoin posted $1.9 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively. In all, 10 different currencies posted volume greater than $100 million.

$11 Billion - 24-Hour Cryptocurrency Trading Volume Hits New Record
Chart from CoinMarketCap

Bithumb and Bitfinex each handled about $1.5 billion in trades while Chinese bitcoin exchange OKCoin accounted for $750 million. Altogether, at least seven exchanges, including GDAX, Bittrex, Poloniex, and Huobi surpassed the $500 million mark (Volume had tapered off a bit by the time of writing, so it is possible Kraken and Coinone crossed $500 million earlier in the day).

Friday’s trading volume surge was caused by market volatility stemming from China’s crackdown on bitcoin exchanges. Yesterday, the markets crashed following reports that a bitcoin exchange ban was “certain” and BTCC’s subsequent announcement that it would shut down all trading services at the end of September. The markets continued to plunge Friday morning as Huobi and OKCoin were rumored to be meeting with regulators and two smaller exchanges–Yunbi and ViaBTC–also announced September closures.

However, later in the day OKCoin and Huobi issued concurrent statements that suggested they might continue providing cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency trading services. Both exchanges announced that they would close CNY trading pairs on October 31, but–unlike BTCC, Yunbi, and ViaBTC–they did not announce the suspension of “all trading.” Moreover, they indicated that they “expect to continue to provide Chinese users with [compliant] digital asset services.”

These announcements led to an immediate rally, and trading volume soared to a record level as the markets climbed back to $120 billion after dipping below $100 billion earlier in the day.

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 15/09/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Estonia could offer estcoins to e-reidents

Estonia could offer ‘estcoins’ to e-residents

The proposal to issue crypto tokens would make the Republic of Estonia the first country with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

What would happen if a country, such as Estonia, issued its own crypto tokens?

This radical question is at the heart of an ambitious new proposal that, if implemented, has the potential to benefit both the country and its fast growing community of e-residents.

‘Estcoins’ could be managed by the Republic of Estonia, but accessed by anyone in the world through its e-Residency programme and launched through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

First though, I want to tell you how we got to this point because it’s the result of another question that we asked almost three years ago, which seemed even more radical at first:

‘Estonia has just 1.3 million residents, but what would happen if our country had 10 million digital residents too?’

At that time, every citizen and resident could already obtain a secure digital identity that enabled them to access Estonia’s public services entirely online. This minimised bureaucracy and made every day life easier, especially for entrepreneurs.

So then we wondered — why stop there? Our digital infrastructure can handle far more ‘users’ than the current population.

If anyone, anywhere could also apply for a digital identity issued by the Estonian government then they too could access our public e-services and our business environment. They could then enjoy many of our same advantages online, especially when it came to starting and running a company, no matter where in the world they are.

E-residents and service providers gathered offline in Tallinn for an e-Residency roundtable

As a result, Estonia became the first country to launch e-Residency.

At first, we didn’t exactly know who would apply and what these people would want most from the programme, but it quickly became clear that e-Residency offered huge value to entrepreneurs seeking trust, location-independence, minimal bureaucracy, low business costs and access to a wider range of fintech services.

The latest statistics show that there are now more than 22,000 e-residents signed up from 138 countries and they make an enormous contribution to Estonia in return for the opportunities that we deliver to them. In fact, the weekly application rate is currently higher than Estonia’s weekly birth rate!

The ability to start a location-independent company is now the main ‘product’ that’s driving the growth of e-Residency. If we left it at this then it is likely that we could still achieve a respectable rate of growth (especially among the fast growing ‘digital nomad’ community) while solving a major problem facing our world, which is how to ensure everyone has the opportunity to benefit from entrepreneurship and rising e-commerce. Even the United Nations has now partnered with e-Residency to launch eTrade For All, which is helping tackle financial exclusion in developing countries.

But as more people discover e-Residency, more uses for e-Residency are being discovered.

The private sector is investing in products and services specifically for e-residents and there is a tremendous amount of excitement in how the secure digital identities offered by e-Residency can enable easier KYC and onboarding, therefore making the e-Residency community an attractive customer market for new online services. It’s incredibly exciting that so much of the fintech industry shares our vision for a borderless digital world with opportunities for all. In recent months for example, Holvi has invested in e-Residency business banking that can be accessed entirely online, TransferWise has unveiled their new borderless account, Change is creating the first decentralised bank for e-residents and Mothership is launching a cryptocurrency exchange.

As a result, e-Residency is now creating a new borderless digital nation where many opportunities provided by traditional nations can be offered entirely online to anyone, anywhere. As Estonian President Kaljulaid recently explained, we must keep innovating to ensure that governments remain relevant in the digital era.

Right now for example, Estonia is planning the world’s first ‘data embassy’, which will support Estonia’s digital infrastructure in a location abroad with the same protections granted to traditional embassies. Just as Estonia’s digital society has become location-independent, this development forms part of Estonia’s broader plan to ensure its state can function entirely independent of its own territory too.

The rise of cryptocurrencies and ICOs

It’s clear that there is strong interest in cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based solutions among our growing community of e-residents.

Just like e-Residency, cryptocurrencies have evolved from a niche idea into an increasingly normal part of modern life for people everywhere in the world because they offer real solutions to real problems.

Several countries have begun experimenting with the introduction of their own digital currencies and China has even developed a prototype cryptocurrency that could one day be put into circulation.

However, Estonia has a clear advantage in this area due to its advanced digital infrastructure and its e-Residency programme. No other country has come close to developing both the technology and the legal frameworks that would enable them to introduce and securely manage tradable crypto assets globally.

It has understandably taken time for all governments to understand and embrace cryptocurrencies as they have a duty to address major challenges, such as the risk of money laundering. In the long term, however, governments may have no option but to (literally) accept cryptocurrencies.

Fortunately, the secure digital identities used by e-residents (as well as citizens and residents of Estonia) are now the ideal mechanism for securely trading crypto assets in a trusted and transparent digital environment. The tokens can not be counterfeited and the government oversight means they can not be used for illegal activities.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has led to another interesting blockchain-based innovation in the private sector called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which enables companies to crowdfund their finance and incentivise a wide range of people to help grow their business.

So could a government support an ICO too?

After all, people do already talk about ‘investing in a country’, but what they really mean is investing in opportunities related to that country — such as companies, property or bonds. You may believe in the future of the country and want to help it succeed, but you can only invest in it indirectly at present.

We already know that many people become e-residents simply because they are fans of our country, our technology and our ideas, and being an e-resident enables them to show their support.

A government-supported ICO would give more people a bigger stake in the future of our country and provide not just investment, but also more expertise and ideas to help us grow exponentially.

How could ‘Estcoins’ work?

This why we are proposing the introduction of estcoins, which could enable anyone to invest in a country for the first time.

Investing in any crypto asset can come with high risks and high rewards, but holders of estcoins would have the added incentive of supporting the development of our digital nation.

There are several ways that the initiative can be structured, but it is important that Estcoin investors gain only when all of Estonia gains.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has a keen interest in Estonia's development as a digital nation and has provided valuable feedback for the estcoin proposal.

He believes estcoins could be used to incentivise investors to support the success of a country in a way that is not currently possible through existing means of raising international finance.

"An ICO within the e-Residency ecosystem would create a strong incentive alignment between e-residents and this fund, and beyond the economic aspect makes the e-residents feel like more of a community since there are more things they can do together,” says Buterin.

"Additionally if these estcoins are issued on top of a blockchain (they could possibly be issued in multiple formats at the same time, nothing wrong with this) then it would become easy and convenient to use them inside of smart contracts and other applications."

For a good example of how the additional money could be managed on behalf of the Estonian people, the Norwegian state pension fund (more commonly known as ‘the oil fund’) is a good example. It is regarded as one of the smartest investors on the planet and has achieved an impressive rate of growth.

The funds raised through estcoins could be managed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and only used as described in the agreement to actually help build the new digital nation. This would enable Estonia to invest in new technologies and innovations for the public sector, from smart contracts to Artificial Intelligence, as well as make it technically scalable to benefit more people around the world. Estonia would then serve a model for how societies of the future can be served in the digital era.

In addition, a large proportion of the funds could be used as a community-run VC fund on behalf of investors. The money could then be used to support Estonian companies, including those established by other e-residents.

As an investment opportunity, estcoins could benefit Estonia and be attractive to investors from the day it is launched. As with e-Residency however, the longer term opportunities could be far greater and possibly beyond anything we can currently comprehend.

In time, estcoins could also be accepted as payment for both public and private services and eventually function as a viable currency used globally. By using our APIs, companies and even other countries could accept these same tokens as payment. It will also be possible to build more functions on top of the estcoins and use them for more purposes, such as smart contracts and notary services.

‘Estcoin’ might make sense today as a name, but it might not be the right one long term because its use could grow far bigger than Estonia. The same thing is happening to e-Residency as a whole, which was initially thought of as a way to be part of the Estonian nation but is now creating a new global digital nation, powered by the Republic of Estonia.

If there is support for this proposal, then the next stage before the ICO would be to provide a white paper that outlines the value of estcoins and how the investment will be used to develop our digital nation. It is likely to begin as a pilot project that can be scaled up based on demand.

 

Kaspar Korjus

Managing Director at e-Residency Aug 21st

 

Posted by David Ogden
                Entrepreneur

 

Cryptocurrency Mining - What It Is, How It Works And Who's Making Money Off It

Cryptocurrency Mining – What It Is, How It Works And Who's Making Money Off It

 

NVIDIA Corporation's second-quarter earnings released earlier this month, though exceeding expectations, elicited cautionary reaction from the investor as well as analyst communities. Traders bid down the stock by over 5 percent on Aug. 11.

One of the reasons cited for the negative reaction was cryptocurrency contributing to much of the outperformance.

Why should it be a cause for alarm?

Analysts Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn of Barclays believes revenue stream from cryptocurrency is fickle. Therefore, the analysts were not in favor of assigning a multiple to it, as it has the potential to become an eventual headwind.

Rival Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Also had a similar tale to tell. The company indicated that cryptocurrency demand remains strong, while also suggesting that the demand might not last forever.
 

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency, as the name suggests, is a form of digital money designed to be secure and anonymous in most cases. It uses a technique called cryptography — a process used to convert legible information into an almost uncrackable code, to help track purchases and transfers.

Giving a simple definition, Blockgeeks says it is just limited entries in a database no one can change without fulfilling specific conditions.

Cryptography is a technique that uses elements of mathematical theory and computer science and was evolved during the World War II to securely transfer data and information. Currently, it is used to secure communications, information and money online.

Cryptocurrencies allow users to make secure payments, without having to go through banks.

Some cryptocurrencies include bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, DigitalNote, LiteCoin and PotCoin.

Bitcoin has the distinction of being the first cryptocurrency, having been introduced in 2009. Since then, this class of cryptocurrencies mushroomed, with more than 900 currently active.

How Cryptocurrencies Work

A cryptocurrency runs on a blockchain, which is a shared ledger or document duplicated several times across a network of computers. The updated document is distributed and made available to all holders of the cryptocurrency.

Every single transaction made and the ownership of every single cryptocurrency in circulation is recorded in the blockchain.

The blockchain is run by miners, who use powerful computers that tally the transactions. Their function is to update each time a transaction is made and also ensure the authenticity of information, thereby ascertaining that each transaction is secure and is processed properly and safely.

As payment for their services, miners are paid physically minted cryptocurrency as fees by vendors or merchants of each transaction.

The value of the cryptocurrency fluctuates based on demand and supply, although there is no fixed value for it. Buyers and sellers agree on a value, which is fair and is based on the value of the cryptocurrency trading elsewhere.

Since there is no intermediary like bank involved in the transaction, as it is a peer-to-peer transaction, the transaction fee that is associated with credit cards is eliminated. The identity of the buyer and seller are not revealed. However, each and every transaction is made public to all the people in the blockchain network.

One can acquire a cryptocurrency through exchanges found online or trade it for traditional currencies.

Assume X wants to buy an item valued at $10,000 and he realizes that the seller Y accepts cryptocurrency, say bitcoin, as a form of payment. X scouts around to find the prevailing exchange rate, say $1,000 per currency. X gets Y's public Bitcoin address from Y's website, although both parties remain anonymous to each other.

X can now instruct his Bitcoin client or the software installed on his computer to transfer 10 bitcoins from his wallet to Y's address. X's Bitcoin client will electronically sign the transaction request with his private key known only to him. X's public key, which is a public information, can be used for verifying the information.

When X's transaction is broadcast to the Bitcoin network, it would be verified in a few minutes by miners. The 10 bitcoins will now be transferred to Y's address.

 

Mining
 

Cryptocurrency mining includes two functions, namely: adding transactions to the blockchain (securing and verifying) and also releasing new currency. Individual blocks added by miners should contain a proof-of-work, or PoW.

Mining needs a computer and a special program, which helps miners compete with their peers in solving complicated mathematical problems. This would need huge computer resources. In regular intervals, miners would attempt to solve a block having the transaction data using cryptographic hash functions.

Hash value is a numeric value of fixed length that uniquely identifies data. Miners use their computer to zero in on a hash value less than the target and whoever is the first to crack it would be considered as the one who mined the block and is eligible to get a rewarded.

The reward for mining a block is now 12.5 bitcoins.

Earlier, only cryptography enthusiasts served as miners. However, as cryptocurrencies gained in popularity and increased in value, mining is now considered a lucrative business. Consequently, several people and enterprises have started investing in warehouses and hardware.

As enterprises jumped into the fray, unable to compete, bitcoin miners have begun to join open pools, combining resources to effectively compete.
 

Bank of New York Mellon Corp has been running an internal blockchain platform for U.S. Treasury bond settlements since early 2016, a Marketwatch report quoting Morgan Stanley said. The private nature of the platform has kept it out of the regulatory purview. Once the bank decides to roll it out to clients and use it commercially, regulatory oversight might come into the picture.

A complete mining kit consists of graphics cards, a processor, power supply, memory, cabling and a fan, which would cost between $2,400 and $3,800 on Amazon.com, Inc. According to Bloomberg.

The top three mining hardware, according to 99bitcoins.com, are Avalon6, AntMiner S7 and AntMiner S9.

Given that existing GPUs aren't powerful enough, now miners are flocking to application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs. To circumvent this shortcoming, Nvidia and AMD are said to be working on GPUs, which could be used specifically for the purpose.

The two companies who are dominant in consumer-grade mining hardware are Canaan and Bitmain. Bitmain, based in Beijing, does mining as well as manufactures mining hardware.
 

Mining Pools And Their Share Of Mining

Mining pools including bitclub network

Mining pools are concentrated in China, which boasts of 81 percent of the network hash rate.

 

Why Mining Chips Are A Fickle Revenue Stream

For companies such as AMD and Nvidia, which have dominant positions in the gaming chip market, a focus away from their core business may not be a prudent course of action.

As seen, these companies may have to bring out new GPUs designed exclusively for this purpose to pose a real threat to the ASIC chips, which are predominantly manufactured by the Chinese, who are notorious for their low-cost market positioning. How viable is the spend on such exclusive chips is a moot point.

Additionally, national governments and exchanges are mulling over regulation of the whole realm of cryptocurrencies. Japan has recently introduced legislation to protect users after Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox collapsed in 2014. Similarly, introducing taxation such as capital gains tax on Bitcoin sales may also impede the cryptocurrency industry.
 

Author: Shanthi Rexaline , Benzinga Staff Writer

August 21, 2017 8:59am

 

Posted by David Ogden
                 Entrepreneur

Understanding Cryptocurrency - How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

Understanding Cryptocurrency – How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

 

Cryptocurrencies have caught on in the mainstream and have made thousands of people millions of dollars. The most recent boom of Bitcoin now means that if you had invested just $500 8 years ago, you would now be a multi-millionaire. This meteoric rise in the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap has drawn a lot of attention. However, to the everyday man who is used to dealing with hard cash and actual value, cryptocurrencies can seem like an unknown and often unintelligible world. With terms like hash rates, data mining, market capitalization, and ultimately the fear of instability, there’s a little bit of a harsh learning curve to the technology.

In this article, I’m going to try to give a beginner’s guide to cryptocurrencies, explain how they work, what moves the prices, and whether you should invest.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are essentially digital mediums that can be exchanged, just like government currencies, that use cryptography, or digital security measures, to secure the exchange of digital information and control the creation of new units. Explained even more simply, cryptocurrencies are digital coins that fluctuate in value similar to stocks with their exchange being backed by digital security measures.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies or money that is then exchangeable for physical money, like dollars. They’re comparable to how most apps have some form of digital money, like “orbs” in a mobile game that cost some amount like ” $10 for 1000 orbs.” In this instance, each in-game “orb” would be worth 1/1000th of a dollar. Even though these orbs are just data on your mobile device or on some server, they have some inherent worth equatable to dollars. In an extremely general context, this is what a cryptocurrency is.

So, how do they work?

In essence, cryptocurrencies provide a viable method of owning a unique digital currency which presents some ever fluctuating value. Each coin or currency, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, are fully self-contained digital systems that both track and control each unit of cryptocurrency.

Each individual coin of a cryptocurrency acts like data moving through a network. Some cryptocurrencies can be valued as small as just 1 cent and others as big as 1 billion dollars. Some currencies are controlled by one entity, which is referred to as a centralized currency, and others are controlled by the public, which are decentralized. There are positives and benefits to each variation, but the stress should be placed on the fact that no cryptocurrency is identical to the next.

What drives them?

One of the most prominent aspects of cryptocurrencies is the fact that there isn’t a third part that verifies the transaction of crypto coins. To avoid this, cryptocurrencies use timestamping methods to verify each transaction. Bitcoin, which is the most popular crypto and largest by market cap, uses a proof-of-work scheme, which is commonly referred to as mining. In essence, mining Bitcoin means tasking a computer with solving some complex problem. When the problem is solved, the computer account is rewarded with a portion of Bitcoin relative to the amount of work it put in to solve the problem. This verification network gives Bitcoin value and backs up transactions. By having this in place, someone couldn’t just write code and give themselves x amount of bitcoins.

In many ways, cryptocurrencies are like stocks. Positive news about a certain coin’s security or general acceptance can drive the price up. The same is inversely true if coins are deemed unuseful in certain applications. Part of what has played into Bitcoin’s rise is that many retailers accept Bitcoin as currency. This makes the cryptocurrency easily translatable to physical value, thus influencing the price per Bitcoin accordingly.

The true answer to what drives cryptocurrencies is obviously much more complex due to the number of factors that go into the “value” of a currency.

Should you invest?

The answer to this question is likely the same for whether you should invest in stocks. While cryptocurrencies have experienced astronomic growth in recent years, these gains aren’t necessarily guaranteed to continue. You should only invest in cryptocurrency if you are willing to take on some risk. With that said, there are currencies that are more stable than others.

Litecoin, which is often regarded as the silver to Bitcoin, has been found to be a very stable currency of growth in recent months. Whereas Bitcoin, currently trading at all time highs, is known to make corrections of 30%, represents a large loss if you were to invest now.

The volatility of cryptocurrencies presents opportunities for day traders, and the significant long term growth of cryptos present great opportunities for long term investors.

You should do a significant amount of investigation into what cryptocurrency you want to invest in, just like any stock, before you buy. Buying can be done on many secure mobile apps or other online platforms. A quick Google search of where and how to buy cryptocurrencies can yield you with this information with ease.

To summarize, cryptocurrencies are often decentralized digital currencies that draw value from security, anonymity, and authentication measures that fluctuate much like stocks that can be traded and exchanged for “true value” currencies. While it may still sound hard to understand, a little bit of research into crypto can go a long way. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and while awareness of them is growing with the general public, people with actual knowledge about how they work is still very small. By taking the time to research and understand, you present yourself with an opportunity to excel in a technologically growing industry.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: TREVOR ENGLISH

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash?

t's not outlandish to think that our current financial system will soon be replaced by cryptocurrency, and the shift will bring about some big changes to the global economy.

THE FLIPPENING

For a time, Bitcoin seemed unassailable in its dominance of the cryptocurrency market, being the first digital currency to really take root and establish itself in the mainstream. Since then, a host of worthy competitors have emerged, and there’s a real possibility that the balance of power could flip.

Many who have been regularly following developments in the cryptocurrency market refer to the tipping point where one digital currency supersedes another as “the flippening” We almost saw this occur in May 2017, when Ethereum’s market cap approached Bitcoin’s amid a surge in popularity.

When individuals have significant amounts of money invested in one cryptocurrency over another, it’s no surprise that tensions run high when they go head to head. However, these squabbles over which coin is best might be distracting us from a more pressing issue.

Some observers would argue that the true flippening isn’t a case of competition between two different forms of cryptocurrency at all. The sea of change yet to come could have more far reaching consequences, if and when digital currency as a whole becomes more popular than conventional fiat currency.

NEW MONEY

There would be some major advantages to an all-cryptocurrency future: its value can’t be manipulated as easy as fiat currency, and it lends itself to the concept of universal basic income. In fact, several different programs, such as uCoin and Cicada, are already using cryptocurrency to distribute UBI.

In a future where our transactions with shops and services are likely to be handled by automated systems, cryptocurrency removes many of the intermediaries that would take their own cut. There are many benefits for the individual, but the flippening stands to pose some major challenges for the global economy in its current form.

Should cryptocurrency manage to jump ahead of fiat money in terms of usage, cash won’t be able to close the gap. That’s the trick to the flippening — once changeover takes place, the losing party loses value and can’t do anything about it.

If everyone begins using cryptocurrency, infrastructure would need to be developed with that in mind. It might not take too long for cash to become incompatible. At this point, it remains to be seen whether established financial institutions could pivot to that new status quo in time.

At the highest level, governments will be hit hard, as they will no longer exercise the same level of control over the country’s currency. The idea of printing more money has been raised time and time again in response to financial turmoil, but that option disappears once currency has to be mined.

The flip from fiat money to cryptocurrency is a very real prospect, and it could well change the face of how our society spends and saves.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Brad Jones

 

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

A new report, published by the N8 Policing Research Partnership, states that law enforcement faces various challenges when it comes to cryptocurrencies and that, although these challenges are mostly driven by the lack of knowledge and tools, they would be lessened if bitcoin were categorized as cash. This would facilitate seizures in the cryptocurrency, which the report states facilitates money laundering and criminal activities.

The report starts by associating bitcoin with cybercrime, using WannaCry’s global ransomware campaign and its effects on the NHS as an example of how bitcoin facilitates criminal activities. According to the report, cryptocurrencies facilitate criminal transactions and crimes. It reads:

“Cryptocurrencies (mainly Bitcoin) have become a popular choice of criminals. They are facilitating criminal transactions and also crimes such as money laundering, extortion (following data breaches), blackmail (the threat of DDOS attacks) and fraud.”

It even states that cryptocurrencies such as monero and bitcoin have become a popular choice for criminals, adding that according to Europol 3% of all money laundering globally is now done through cryptocurrencies. Notably, back in July a report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and Council found that terrorists and criminals are rarely using cryptocurrencies, although it added that the lack of regulations pose the threat of them being misused.

Notably, N8’s report recommends the U.K. Home Office, an organization that oversees law enforcement agencies in the country, to classify bitcoin as a form of cash, to make it easier to seize the cryptocurrency. It states:

“A recommendation has also been made to the Home Office regarding a potential legislative amendment to categorise bitcoin as cash for the purpose of cash seizure legislation”

Moreover, as a result of its research, it found that U.K. law enforcement has significant knowledge gaps when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and as such a training program is recommended to improve development.

The report also says that bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain technology, poses “some potentially interesting opportunities for investigators”, and therefore it is essential to adopt a strategic training approach to law enforcement in the country.
 

How researchers got to their conclusion

As part of the report two scenarios were conducted: one in which researchers purchased items from dark web marketplaces using bitcoin and monero, and then executed a mock warrant, and a sextortion scenario in which officers analyzed transaction data on the blockchain to then execute a mock warrant and seize bitcoins.

It found that the lack of regulations for bitcoin ATMs in the U.K. is a vulnerability that can help criminals launder money. Regarding exchanges, it noted that these have been attempting to comply with international money laundering standards, conducting KYC (Know Your Customer) checks. It adds that further industry collaboration is needed as criminals can still bypass these checks.

Finally, the report notes that a number of tools are available for law enforcement to trace bitcoin transactions in the blockchain, but adds that these require knowledge and expertise. Some companies offer user-friendly alternatives, but access to these alternatives is limited in the U.K.

Whether the U.K. Home Office will approve legislation that will categorize bitcoin as cash is unclear.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Francisco Memoria

 

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

The Technology Behind Cryptocurrencies

 

The creation of Bitcoin back in 2008 fueled the exponential growth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, facilitating the creation of a rich diversity of coins and applications that many would deem revolutionary. Those who invested in cheap coins at the outset are reaping huge returns on their capitals, dwarfing the average returns one can acquire in the stock markets. Think about it; if you had bought $1,000 worth of Bitcoin in 2010, you’d be worth a staggering $35 million now. The possibility of earning colossal returns has attracted many to the arena, and this begs a crucial question: Is the hype on cryptocurrencies warranted or it is just a game of Russian Roulette?

The birth of Bitcoin – the first digital cryptocurrency that is decentralized by design – gave rise to a technology with the potential to redefine the very fabric of our status quo. This technology is called the Blockchain, which underpins Bitcoin’s protocol.

“Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments.” — Leon Luow, Nobel Peace Prize nominee

Blockchain is essentially a distributed, digital ledger where every transaction is broadcasted publicly and recorded chronologically. The database is ever growing, expanding in tandem with the amount of transactions made on the network. The decentralized nature of Blockchain technology ensures that transactions are immutable and thus immune to change, offering full transparency for each and every transaction. Add to that the traits of increased security, higher efficiency, error-resistant and reduced transaction costs, it leaves no doubt as to why many are excited about Blockchain’s possible use cases. The utility of Blockchain technology is endless, with an ever-growing list of governments, industries and companies looking to further explore its usage.

Hotbed for Money Making

The birth of a revolutionary technology would always entail those looking to capitalize on its profitability. Blockchain is no different. Investors, traders and speculators can get in on the action by buying cryptocurrencies, which are digital currencies manifesting as variant applications of the Blockchain technology. There are over 900 coins available, with each offering a slightly different approach to solving a range of problems. Many early adopters have made a great sum of money, by buying the coins cheaply at its outset and realizing them much later on. Based on the statistics provided by ICOSTATS, the return on capital of 40 cryptocurrencies since their inception stands at a staggering 6703%! In order for you to earn similar rates of returns in the stock market, it will take you approximately 957 years.

These stellar returns inevitably attract many who are looking to earn multiples over their capital. Given the extreme technicality of cryptocurrencies and the underlying Blockchain technology, many do not fully understand the fundamentals of what they’re investing in. The immaturity of the current infrastructure – stemming from the relative infancy of the cryptocurrency industry — results in an inefficient price discovery mechanism, thereby creating an extremely volatile market environment. This poses huge risks for those looking to invest in a comprehensive list of coins.

Simply entering the market with the hopes of massive short-term gains without understanding the coins and their technology is akin to playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette. The radical volatility of the coins’ prices may significantly put your capital at risk. Just to draw a picture, Bitcoin’s price lost 40% of its value in a matter of days in December 2013, and at the start of this year, Bitcoin lost approximately 34% of its value in a week. While this can spell doom for many, there are those that find gratification by profiting from the intense gyration of prices.

The Verdict?

Nine years after Bitcoin kickstarted the technological revolution, the ecosystem centered around Blockchain technology has flourished and is looking ever so promising. New coins solving real world problems are launched at a tremendous pace, with new functionalities and applications pushing the boundaries of this nascent technology. With increasing user adoption and a keen interest by nations and corporations, it is only a matter of time before Blockchain technology becomes ubiquitous in our lives.

A flip side of this emergent technology is the great risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, especially for those with a short-term horizon and an absence of understanding in the coins they have invested in. Truly, the extraordinary volatility unique to cryptocurrencies creates a superficial impression of high stakes gambling in the eyes of many. Armed with the right understanding and knowledge of Blockchain technology, you would begin to appreciate its innate beauty.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Aziz Bin Zainuddin

Malta Entrepreneur has Installed the Country's First Cryptocurrency ATM

Malta Entrepreneur has Installed the Country’s First Cryptocurrency ATM

A Malta entrepreneur has installed the country’s first cryptocurrency ATM. The installation has occurred just days after local media reported that a start-up had launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the country’s first bitcoin ATM.

The Cryptocurrency ATM Has Been Installed Days After a Crowdfunding Campaign Was Launched to Fund a Rival Terminal

A local Malta entrepreneur, Gabriel Cretu Torica, has installed the country’s first cryptocurrency ATM. The terminal has been installed outside a store in Sliema and facilitates bitcoin purchases and balances checks via QR codes.

 

Mr. Torica discussed the advantages of bitcoin and the speed of cryptocurrency ATMs, telling local media that “online exchanges often ask for ID verification, and that can waste up to 24 hours”. Mr. Torica also believes that the bitcoin ATM will inspire greater adoption of bitcoin in Malta. “Many people are still suspicious of bitcoin… I’m sure this will change over time as people realize the benefits”, he said.
 

Ivaj, a start-up and bitcoin cryptocurrency advocacy group championing bitcoin adoption throughout Malta, had already started a crowdfunding campaign seeking to raise finances for the purchase and installation of the island’s first cryptocurrency ATM. The crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise $6,000, with plans to install a second bitcoin ATM if more money than requested is received. If the campaign falls short Ivaj co-founder, Leon Siegmund, has pledged to provide the remaining required funds. Mr. Torica has stated that his bitcoin ATM had already been purchased but not installed when he heard about the crowdfunding campaign – which prompted him to contact local press.
 

The crowdfunding campaign is still active and has so far raised 6% of its total goal, currently having raised $368 from only 6 backers. The campaign will finish approximately one month from today. “We believe in Bitcoin’s potential and decided to invest time and effort in bringing the first Bitcoin ATM to Malta in order to unleash these opportunities to individuals, and society as a whole,” Leon Siegmund previously told The Times of Malta. “We’ve already identified a few potential locations, but it’s too early to discuss them now. What I can say is that it will either be in Valletta or in Sliema.”

 

Malta’s Government Has Previously Focused on Attracting Cryptocurrency Investment From Businesses

Malta’s central government has recently expressed great interest in embracing bitcoin, with the cabinet of malta approving the first draft for a national strategy designed to promote cryptocurrency and blockchain technology across the nation during April. Despite the bold rhetoric, the island still lacks basic infrastructure that will allow increased user adoption, as evidenced by the crowdfunding campaign for the nation’s first bitcoin ATM.

 

Malta’s government has predominantly focussed upon attracting cryptocurrency based businesses to register on their shores. Several government agencies participated in a conference hosted by PKF Malta this week that sought to “[bring] together a think tank of professionals representing a cross section of the market ranging from start-up success stories to crowdfunding, blockchain, [and] bitcoin.” The conference featured keynote speakers from Silicon Valley, and an audience predominantly comprised of representatives from Malta’s business and academic sectors.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Samuel Haig

 

The crypto-currency craze

The crypto-currency craze

 

In the late 1990s, as investors woke up to the promise of the internet, shares in any company with dot.com after its name soared to giddy heights.

Then the bubble burst.

Now there are warnings of another technology investment bubble – this time related to the fascination with crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we examine the phenomenon of ICOs – Initial Coin Offerings – which have seen over $1bn raised so far this year from investors who get little more than a token and a vague promise of involvement in a new business.

The term ICO – designed to mirror the IPO that sees a firm issue shares and float on a stock exchange – seems to mean different things to different people. Early versions were simply ways of getting a new crypto-currency off the ground, but now many are promising to use the blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin and similar currencies to create businesses.

Among the ICO projects listed by Smith + Crown, which researches the crypto-currency scene, is a business raising money to create the world's most lucrative lottery based on blockchain, and another that promises to rent out high-quality office space using digital tokens.

On Tech Tent, we talk to an entrepreneur who is boldly going into uncharted territory with this new investment technique. Pavlo Tanasyuk is the founder of Spacebit, which aims to create what he calls "a distributed space agency unshackled by state or national sponsorship".

Next month, he will invite investors to take a stake in this venture, which he describes as a crypto version of Elon Musk's Space X. He will only accept payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum or other crypto-currencies and in return backers will get tokens and a role in deciding how the business is run.

But the finance blogger Frances Coppola has compared ICOs to the tulip fever of the 16th Century and other investment bubbles.

"The enthusiasm for ICOs is coming off the back of the Bitcoin and Ethereum booms," she says.

She warns that such schemes are completely unregulated, and fears that many who invest in them simply won't understand what they're getting into.

"There will be scams in this – I'd be astonished if regulators aren't looking at this."

Even Pavlo Tanasyuk concedes there is plenty of risk attached to this kind of investment. "Ninety-five per cent won't deliver – but we will. It's important to set an example. We're doing something real and have a strong management team in place."

When the dot.com bubble burst, it became clear that many investors had not really understood what the firms they were backing actually did or the nature of the technological challenges they faced. Today, the world of crypto-currencies and the blockchain looks even more impenetrable.

Consider this description of one project, Neverdie, which has already raised more than $2m (£1.5m) in an ICO: "A virtual reality infrastructure platform that bridges virtual worlds with popular MMORPGs [massively multiplayer online role-playing games] on the Ethereum blockchain."

Doubtless those who have bought the coins that are meant to fund this vision have read the white paper describing the project, and the disclaimer at the end: "Neverdie Coins and Teleport Tokens do not represent ownership in any real-world companies. These tokens are designed to activate virtual utilities."

Real money is going into a virtual world and if it disappears in a puff of virtual smoke, no regulator will be there to cry foul. Let's hope those who back these kind of ventures are going into them with their eyes open.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Rory Cellan-Jones